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J Clin Oncol. 2011 Jul 10;29(20):2773-80. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2010.34.4911. Epub 2011 May 23.

Primary tumor response to preoperative chemoradiation with or without oxaliplatin in locally advanced rectal cancer: pathologic results of the STAR-01 randomized phase III trial.

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Istituto Nazionale per la Ricerca sul Cancro, Genova, Italy.



To investigate oxaliplatin combined with fluorouracil-based chemoradiotherapy as preoperative treatment for locally advanced rectal cancer.


Seven hundred forty-seven patients with resectable, locally advanced (cT3-4 and/or cN1-2) adenocarcinoma of the mid-low rectum were randomly assigned to receive pelvic radiation (50.4 Gy in 28 daily fractions) and concomitant infused fluorouracil (225 mg/m(2)/d) either alone (arm A, n = 379) or combined with oxaliplatin (60 mg/m(2) weekly × 6; arm B, n = 368). Overall survival is the primary end point. A protocol-planned analysis of response to preoperative treatment is reported here.


Grade 3 to 4 adverse events during preoperative treatment were more frequent with oxaliplatin plus fluorouracil and radiation than with radiation and fluorouracil alone (24% v 8% of treated patients; P < .001). In arm B, 83% of the patients treated with oxaliplatin had five or more weekly administrations. Ninety-one percent, compared with 97% in the control arm, received ≥ 45 Gy (P < .001). Ninety-six percent versus 95% of patients underwent surgery with similar rates of abdominoperineal resections (20% v 18%, arm A v arm B). The rate of pathologic complete responses was 16% in both arms (odds ratio = 0.98; 95% CI, 0.66 to 1.44; P = .904). Twenty-six percent versus 29% of patients had pathologically positive lymph nodes (arm A v arm B; P = .447), 46% versus 44% had tumor infiltration beyond the muscularis propria (P = .701), and 7% versus 4% had positive circumferential resection margins (P = .239). Intra-abdominal metastases were found at surgery in 2.9% versus 0.5% of patients (arm A v arm B; P = .014).


Adding oxaliplatin to fluorouracil-based preoperative chemoradiotherapy significantly increases toxicity without affecting primary tumor response. Longer follow-up is needed to assess the impact on efficacy end points.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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